The Facility Management and Building User Interaction in the delivery of Energy Management Services: Theoretical approach and practical applications for facilities managers on non-residential buildings
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The built environment is accredited for a significant portion of global energy consumption (40%) and generation of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions (36%). Reducing the amount of energy used during the service life of buildings is paramount towards reducing the sector´s energy and carbon footprint. Strategies that include the adoption of passive design building concepts and the introduction of energy efficient technologies are essential to supporting energy efficiency goals. However, mounting evidence indicates that buildings designed for low energy use can often perform much worse than their design intentions, an issue commonly referred to as the energy performance gap (EPG). How people choose to use or interact with buildings is widely regarded as one of the most significant factors influencing this performance gap. Energy strategies that aim to reduce energy use by modifying the energy-behaviour of building occupants are increasingly gaining attention. Facility managers can play a strategic role in leading organizational change towards building a sustainable workforce. The focus of this doctoral thesis is on energy-related occupant engagement as delivered by facility managers. The term refers to initiatives that aim to raise awareness, education and, to varying extents, empower building occupants to support the energy ambitions of the building they occupy. Specifically, this thesis investigates whether facility managers in Norway are embracing practices to enable and empower building occupants to support the delivery of energy management service. Moreover, it explores the factors that influence the decisionmaking process of facility managers to adopt or reject such initiatives in the context of their energy management strategies and day-to- day operational routines. The research uses a mixed method sequential explanatory design. The first quantitative phase used a survey design to gain insight into the range of concepts, processes and tools used by facility managers in the delivery of energy management service. The second qualitative phase used case studies to explore the factors with the potential to shape the facility managers´ choices of energy management practice, particularly in regards to the adoption or rejection of energy-related occupant engagement initiatives. Findings suggest that building occupants are central to neither the strategies nor mechanisms by which facility managers deliver energy management service in Norway. Instead, the facility managers´ approach to energy management is reliant on the building´s energy saving features and technologies to reduce energy use, manage occupant interactions and provide occupant comfort. The facility managers´ perceptions regarding the impact of building occupants on energy use were found to play an important role in shaping the decisions of facility managers to reject the practice of energy-related occupant engagement. Specifically, the facility managers´ interpretations about the affordances of energy efficient technologies played a significant role in steering the facility managers´ perceptions. This doctoral research suggests that the position of facility managers as leaders of organizational change may, to a good extent, be compromised by their own interpretations about how energy efficient buildings work. More specifically, it argues that the facility managers´ understanding of the tools she/he uses in the delivery of energy practice may hinder, rather than support, efforts to embrace the building occupants´ (client) perspective. Conclusively, findings suggest a gap between the perceptions of facility managers of occupant impact on energy use and the state of the art of the knowledge on energy-related occupant behaviour.